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all his actions : cut off from all the pleasures which depend on mutual confidence and affection, he found the same refuge of a starved and joyless heart in the indulgencies of a solitary voluptuary.
ON HYPOCRISY AND OPEN PROFLIGACY, AND THE
COMPARATIVE INFAMY AND DEMERIT OF EACH, continued.
Before I resume my subject, I think it proper to obviate some difficulties, which the discussion at the last meeting brought forward to view, and which, I apprehend, were occasioned by misapprehension of the author of the essay.
By some it seemed to be conceived, that the author was defending profligacy, while the professed intention of the essay was only a comparison of hypocrisy with profligacy; and surely there is an obvious difference between a comparative and an absolute defence. If the characters were equal, in a view both of turpitude and malignancy, they would have been to the author no subject of comparison. There is an essential distinction between
violation and destruction : in the profligate virtue is violated; in the hypocrite it is strangled: in the one virtue may resume her empire; in the other never. Profligacy may not enter into all the movements of a man, and in these other movements both the great, and the generous, and the good may be found; while hypocrisy appeared to the author to be the vice of little minds, and from whom generally neither the great nor the good is to be expected. A character wherein may exist, and often does exist an intermixture of good and evil, was deemed to be less detestable than one, which is foul all over; and for this judgment the author did not expect, that he should be considered as the admirer and advocate of profligacy. He condemns both characters; but he confesses, that his abhorrence of the hypocrite is inexpressibly greater, and it'was the purport of the essay, to state the reasons of this greater abhorrence.
The discussion of the essay discovered to the author another misapprehension of his
meaning. By the profligate and the hypo-
peared to him to be totally irrelevant. Profligacy, a daring profligacy, was certainly his predominant character; and as the character which predominates was alone contemplated in the essay, therefore the author thought himself justified in considering Richlieu as a profligate, and as illustrating his general observation, that grandeur, and a towering grandeur of mind, may be found in the profligate, but seldom if ever in the hypocrite. But there are more extraordinary examples of this mixed character than Richlieu, where the great and the mean, an intrepid profligacy and a subtle hypocrisy may be so singularly blended, as at first view renders it something difficult to decide to what class they shall be assigned. Mahomet and Cromwell effected great revolutions; and if we estimate the mind and the talents of each by the magnitude of power to which they rose, we must consider them both as profligates of the first order, in whom a grandeur of soul was equalled only by their wickedness. But notwithstanding,